Cellulose Microbeads: Toward the Controlled Release of Nutrients to Plants

Marcos Henrique Feresin Gomes, Ciaran Callaghan, Antonio Cesar Sipano Mendes, Karen J. Edler, Davide Mattia, Quirijn De Jong Van Lier, Hudson Wallace Pereira De Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


The use of conventional fertilizers is associated with pollution due to leaching and a mismatch between release rates and crop requirements for optimal development. Slow-release fertilizers could address both problems. Here, the synthesis and properties of a zinc fertilizer composed of cellulose microbeads loaded with aqueous ZnSO4 are reported for the first time. UV-vis spectrophotometry showed that the beads immersed in water released all Zn2+ in about 30 min, regardless of the initial Zn2+ concentration. In two sandy substrates (a pure sand and a sandy loam substrate), microprobe X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy determined Zn2+ release from beads to the substrate corresponding to count rates of about 0.115 mm min-1 s-1, irrespective of the substrate and with a low sensitivity for the water content, except in a very dry range. These results indicate that these microbeads could represent a practical and sustainable solution for efficient nutrient supply in agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalACS Agricultural Science and Technology
Issue number2
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2022


  • agriculture 4.0
  • maize
  • slow release
  • sustainability
  • Zn fertilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Food Science
  • Plant Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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